Jeff Dunham to Control Chaos at Mullins

By Jessica Troland

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One of the nation’s most famous comedians, Jeff Dunham, is bringing his ventriloquist tour to the University of Massachusetts Mullins Center on Thursday, Oct. 20.

Dunham’s comedic career as a ventriloquist began when he was just 8-years-old after receiving his first dummy, Mortimer Snerd.

The funny man’s passion for ventriloquism took off early in his career, and Dunham perfected the trade by performing at every opportunity that fell upon him. Mixing comedy with his anything-but-dumb dummies, Dunham has a tremendous fan base, and his new tour – “Controlled Chaos” – is only expected to expand his following.

“Controlled Chaos” will inevitably have audiences keeling over from laughter as Dunham brings his entourage of dummies along for what surely will be a sidesplitting performance. The show, already a smash hit upon its release on Comedy Central, has gone on to sell over 100,000 DVDs within its first week of sales.

The act shows no lack of popularity overseas. International viewers in a dozen countries tuned in for the release of the new act on Sept. 25. “Controlled Chaos” has already been acclaimed as one of the most popular acts on television and currently ranks as the third most-watched program in the history of Comedy Central.

Returning for another round of endless laughter, Dunham’s dummy entourage is prepared to have audiences tearing with joy and begging for more. Among Dunham’s key dummy personalities are returning favorites Peanut, José Jalapeño, Walter, Achmed and Bubba J. While Dunham’s incredible skill as a ventriloquist has made his career incredibly fruitful, it is arguable that his dummies’ personalities have given Dunham’s show its distinguishing comic factor. Each character possesses a unique frame of mind, and each of the characters play very well off one another – oftentimes, insulting or criticizing the other dummy with an over-the-top silliness.

Peanut, the most popular and oldest members of the gang, is known for his stupidity and crazy attitude. Said to be “high on life,” Peanut entertains audiences in every show with his mockery of Dunham. This act is so impressive; the rapid speed with which Dunham is able to fly back and forth during what is essentially a conversation with himself and his own thrown voice seems unreal. Their constant bickering is enjoyable to witness.

Alongside Peanut is fan-favorite José the Jalapeño. José sparks laughs by raving in his thick Spanish accent about life “on a steek.” Peanut and José make for one of the loopiest duos of the show both in attitude and appearance.

Walter plays a retired, crabby old man who pokes fun at the elderly. Dunham’s puppet tells old war stories and criticizes all the “young folks” in the audience, including Dunham.

One of Dunham’s arguably most controversial, though equally entertaining dummy is Achmed, whose character exhibits characteristics of stereotypes for some terrorists.  and Bubba J acts as an All-American, trailer park resident.  Achmed puts his “bomber” joke technique to good use as he sends explosions of laughter through audiences everywhere.

Last but not least, many Americans identify or at least recognize Dunham’s fifth puppet’s stereotypical representation. Bubba J is portrayed as an All-American, young, trailer park resident. This character prides himself on his love of NASCAR, beer drinking and hillbilly lifestyle. Dunham uses Bubba J to poke fun at the stereotype of the white trash America trailer park.

“Controlled Chaos” will feature the popular group of dummies and may even feature two special guests. Audiences can only wait and see as Dunham and his gang of cronies bring mass hysteria to Amherst.

Jessica Troland can be reached at [email protected]